Once in a while opportunity comes knocking at my door, instead of my having to seek it out. I am so grateful that the owner of Gallery Z at 167 Market Street in Lowell, Massachusetts, Patty DiStefano, discovered my Etsy shop and reached out to me to join her gallery's upcoming month-long "Assemblage" show. Patty is an assemblage artist in her own right. Here is an example of her work:
Patty opened this wonderful gallery in 2015. Aside from running month-long themed gallery exhibits, it also serves as a gift shop, artist cooperative, café and coffeehouse and runs theatrical events such as dinner theater and musical events such as open-mic nights. It is in the center of the historic district in Lowell, amongst other galleries and restaurants.
The "Assemblage" show will feature 6 artists altogether and will run from March 28- April 21, 2019. The opening reception, at which I and other artists' will be present and appetizers will be served, is on Saturday April 13 from 4-6PM. One can come to enjoy the opening celebration and then have dinner in the restaurant and stay for open-mic night starting at 7:30PM! Here is the link to the gallery website:
Below are the 8 pieces of mine that Patty chose for the "Assemblage" show:
Gallery Z also has a wonderful gift shop area and these four dogs were chosen to be for sale in that section. They are also for sale in my Etsy shop (if interested, click on the photo and it will direct you there where you may read more about the piece, see more photos, and purchase it):
If you live locally, I hope you will be able to check out the "Assemblage" exhibit and most importantly attend the opening reception and say "hi" to me! As always, thank you for reading my blog.
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I finally finished my "Steampunk Wall" in my dining room and thought I would write a blog about the art that went into this wall design as well as my dining room as a whole. If you have had a chance to read the About Me section of my website, then you already know that I live in an 1880s Victorian home. Victorian decorating lends itself to over-the-top displays of competing textures, colors, designs and the concept that MORE is better. If you lean more towards minimalist or contemporary styles of décor, this may not be your cup of tea. Perhaps, though, you can appreciate the individual pieces of art and think of ways in which you might integrate whimsical assemblage art into your own home décor.
I will start with showing the individual pieces of art and then end with photos of the room as a whole.
MY OWN ART
Next is a photo of a glass covered oak wood cabinet within which I have placed various found objects, antique tins, and some of my assemblage sculptures. This cabinet became the first piece on the wall around which I created the other works. The photo is with the glass door open to get rid of the glare. The pony piece (Mustard), two dogs (Princely Beau Boxer and Frenchie) and two dolls (Meanie Queenie and Overly Corseted Cora) are my own assemblage sculptures and are also individually shown below.
AMY FLYNN'S FOBOTS
Below are photos of my 4 Fobots (Found Object Robots) by Amy Flynn. I had seen Amy's work through internet searches, on Pinterest and even in an airline magazine! I finally got to meet Amy in person when she was selling in person in November 2018 at a nearby Juried Art fair through Paradise City Art Fair in Marlborough, MA. I was so thrilled to be able to pick out these 4 fabulous one-of-a-kind pieces!
JANET SCHUSTER ART
These next few pieces are by Janet Schuster at VisualApothecary.com. I was honored to sell next to Janet at the 2015 Springfield Vermont Steampunk Festival. Click here to view my blog about that steampunk fair. I loved Janet's use of antique photographic portraiture to give each of her one-of-a-kind pieces their individual character. Here are Janet's pieces that I incorporated into my steampunk wall:
MIXED MEDIA ART OF VALERIE BUNNELL
This next piece is by a long-time Mixed Media Artist, Valerie Bunnell. She incorporates her own pottery heads and arms into her assemblages. I was very drawn to this piece because of the circus theme. You may be aware that I had the opportunity to design and create a whimsical circus-themed window display for the American Folk Art Museum in NYC back in December 2016. Click here to read my blog about that wonderful experience. I met Valerie at the Paradise City Arts Festival in Northampton, MA in October 2018. I remember telling her that I had wished that I had known her when I was designing the window display as it would have been fun to do a collaboration. Here is a photo of her piece that I purchased. I put her piece inside the box which I lined with acid free circus imagery and topped off with extraordinary Victorian brass furniture pulls:
Here is a photo of how I combined Valerie's piece which I placed in a wood box and then placed my own piece Stilts the Clown on top:
BARTHOLOMEW'S BRILLIANT BOXES
This next piece is called Rocket Man by Bart's Brilliant Boxes. I also bought him at the Paradise City Arts Fair in Marlborough, MA. What is amazing about this husband and wife art team is how they not only make fabulous found object robots, but also integrate electricity in various clever ways. This piece has a special bulb that looks like a flame!
VINTAGE ANDROID ART BY AMY ALISON KNUTSON
My newest acquisition is Gunther, the Bugle Boy by Amy Alison Knutson of Vintage Android Art. I fell in love with him while perusing Etsy. I thought he fit in very well with my Amy Flynn Fobots and my Rocket Man by Bart's Brilliant Boxes:
CALMWATER DESIGNS BY STEPHANIE YOUNG
A very different style of art from what is displayed above, but nevertheless integrates well into the design of my dining room, are Stephanie Young of Calmwater Designs' exquisite one-of-a-kind hand carved and painted porcelain art nouveau vases. I discovered her also at the Paradise City Arts fairs in Massachusetts. Here are the 5 vases I currently have in my collection:
And last but now least, my dining room has two of my own teenage daughter's oil paintings that complement the coloring and décor of the room (whose primary colors are blue and red).
THE BIG REVEAL OF DINING ROOM DECOR
Here are the photos of how all these pieces have come together to bring character and interest into my Victorian era dining room:
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I just returned from selling at the Juried Art Providence Holiday Show at the Rhode Island Convention Center in Providence, Rhode Island. What a great mix of talented artists in the areas of jewelry, textiles, paintings, mixed media, and sculpture! I feel very honored to be amongst professional artists, many of whom attended various art schools, including the local RISD. A big thank you to my fellow artisans, the show organizers, my husband (without whom I couldn't possibly set up and break down my booth!), and most of all my customers for a great show! The enthusiasm people show regarding my quirky pieces always helps to energize me to keep creating! Here are some photos of my booth as well as of my sold items.
Gallery of sold items at the fair:
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A couple of years ago I made a handful of Christmas Baskets using beautiful woven baskets which I filled with various vintage/new/handmade Christmas-themed items or toys. I call them 'heirloom" baskets as they are meant to be a staple of one's Christmas decor and can be passed down through the generations. After noticing how well-received they were at the recent Morristown Craftmarket, I decided to make more. Here is the original very large, deluxe one I sold at that market and that inspired me to make more:
Following are 2 photos, dimensions, and prices of each basket I recently made and are available for sale. If interested, please e-mail me at email@example.com and I can send more photos. I probably won't list in my Etsy shop ShenVintageCreations until after the Art Providence Holiday Show in which I will be selling as a vendor (held at the Providence, RI Convention Center, December 8-9, 10AM-6PM Saturday and 10AM-5PM Sunday (I will be booth #117)).
One-of-a-kind "Seasons Greetings" signed Longaberger basket with mohair jointed Panda Bear, Angel, decorated Tree and wooden ornaments. Can either hang or sit on shelf. 9.5"W X 13"H X 5"D. Price: $130.
One-of-a-kind hanging "25 Days until Christmas" signed Longaberger basket with jointed mohair blue-tinged bear, embossed Heidel chocolates tin, wooden Pinocchio toy from Italy, 5 glass blown ornaments, chenille Santa holding a tree, wooden soldier and snowman ornaments, red & gold wired ribbon bow and beautiful tag with vintage Santa graphics. 14"W X 14"H X 7.5"D. Price: $140.
One-of-a-kind "Glad Tidings" Red, White and Blue signed Longaberger basket with patriotic décor (flags, red/white/blue glass blown ornament, red/white/blue braided trim). Has teddy bear, vintage flocked dog, 4 glass blown ornaments, porcelain cup and saucer, decorated tree, handmade cotton batting santa and red/gold wired ribbon bow and 3D cardboard card that says, 'Glad Tidings." 9.5"W X 15"H X 7.5"D. Price: $160.
One-of-a-kind woven basket, "Angels," with collectible German Steiff mohair polar bear, Angel, wooden Pinocchio made in Italy, vintage porcelain cup and saucer, decorated tree with wooden angel atop, wooden soldier on rocking horse and wooden accordionist, metal antique car, gold fabric star. This can either hang or sit on shelf. 7.5"W X 11"H X 7 "D. Price: $140.
One-of-a-kind "Happy Holidays" signed Longaberger basket with collectible German Steiff mohair mouse, made-in-Italy wooden Pinnocchio toy, wooden soldier and sledder, 2 glass blown ornaments, white decorated tree, red and green braided trim, hand-crocheted red bow, "Happy Holidays" 3D gift tag. This piece can either sit on shelf (and have Pinocchio do the splits), or hang. 8"W X 12.5"H X 5.25"D. Price: $125.
One-of-a-kind "Joy!" hanging basket with large decorate green tree, handmade cotton batting Santa holding mushrooms, "Joy" written with vintage wood blocks, 2 hand blown glass ornaments, large wired tan ribbon bow, fancy tassel trim, gold beaded garland. 10"W X 22"L (including the garland) X 7.75"D. Price: $98.
One-of-a-kind "Merry Bright" basket with large decorated green tree, teddy bear, porcelain doll, flocked lamp with wood cart, wrapped presents, glass blown ornaments, scrumptious red and gold tassel trim, red wired ribbon bow, and 3D "Merry Bright" gift tag. This can either hang or sit on a shelf. 11.5"W X 16"H x 8.5"D. Price: $150.
One-of-a-kind "Happy Holidays" lidded Basketville basket made in Putney, Vermont stuffed with mohair jointed Teddy bear, wooden lithographed soldier, large green decorated tree, 2 chenille candy canes, porcelain pitcher, vintage metal airplane and car, 3 glass-blown ornaments, red beaded garland, and deluxe red damask ribbon bow. 11/5"W X 19"H X 8.25"D. Price: $190.
One-of-a-kind "Santa" basket to sit on shelf (does not hang). "Santa" is written with vintage wood blocks. Stuffed with collectible German Steiff mohair polar bear, chalkware Santa, porcelain cup and saucer, 3 glass blown ornaments, wooden Santa on skis, and decorated with red netting, green buttons and pearls. Also has red and gold fabric star. 14"H X 9.5"W X 8"D. Price: $160.
One-of-a-kind "Merry Elf" basket to sit on shelf (does not hang). Handled woven basket with wood bottom filled with vintage porcelain sitting elf, chalkware Santa with feather tree and wreath on head, porcelain floral sugar bowl, green decorated Christmas tree, pinecone, 2 shimmery silver ornaments, and glass blown spherical ornament with gold Dresden embellishment and Santa face. Large gold shimmery ribbon bow, red ribbon. 6"W X 10.5"H X 8.5"D. Price: $110.
One-of-a-kind stuffed large hanging paper cone. Can hang on wall, interior door or door knob. Handmade cone made from acid free paper with 1950s Santa graphics and trimmed with brass button, red braided trim and deluxe red beaded tassel and handle. Stuffed with flocked teddy bear, handmade cotton batting Santa holding paper USA flag, wooden Pinocchio from Italy, 2 glass blown ornaments, wooden soldier on rocking horse, and green decorated tree with paper Nutcracker Mouse King at top. 24"L X 7"W X 5.5"D. Price: $80.
One-of-a-kind stuffed large hanging paper cone. Can hang on wall, interior door, or from door knob. Cone is handmade from dark green acid free cardstock with Victorian era Christmas card imagery and embellished with red and gold tasseled and braided trim, green tassel, green diaphanous bow, and paper poinsettias. The cone is stuffed with handmade cotton batting Santa holding a "believe" charm, wooden Pinocchio from Italy, artificial berries, green decorated tree with paper Nutcracker at top. 23"L X 7"W X 5.5"D. Price: $80.
If you are interested in seeing my other Christmas décor for sale, press on the link for each:
Cotton Batting Santas
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I was very pleased to be included as a vendor at the recent juried Morristown Craftmarket in the Armory in Morristown, NJ. I met lots of interesting people, both customers and artists. I am always amazed at the artistic talent that I see at these juried fairs!
My husband grew up in Morristown, so it was fun for him to visit his old stomping grounds while I spent the day showing people my whimsical and quirky assemblage animals, dolls, Day of the Dead, Santas and Christmas baskets.
My husband and I worked a lot on improving the practicality and cohesiveness of my booth display and I was really pleased with how it turned out. His engineering background really came in handy in making me my new completely collapsible step-down platforms on which to display my sculptures, as well as in coming up with an idea for displaying my hanging pieces. Also, this was the first time that I added lights to my display. While the lights look a little like alien arms, I thought they helped a lot to brighten the displays. My banner is also new. I plan to get an area rug for the next upcoming fair (ArtProvidence Holiday Fair in Providence RI at the Providence Convention Center, December 8-9, 2018). Here are photos of my new and improved booth:
On Friday night Kevin Coughlin, a local newspaper journalist/photographer came around and took some photos of my creations and casually spoke with me. I was delighted to hear from a customer on Sunday that he had actually featured me in his plug about the Craftmarket in the online Morristown Green newspaper. The article, entitled, "Whoopie Pies, Scary Therapy Among Highlights of Morristown Craftmarket, Through Oct 21" mentions me both at the beginning and at the end of the article (I'm the "scary" therapy!). Click on the link above to read the article and see the photos he included.
Thank you so much to the many admirers of my one-of-a-kind creations! Here are photos of just some of the pieces that sold:
LuLu the Ballerina Giraffe
On my way home from Morristown to Pepperell, MA, I stopped by the gallery The Eclectic Collector in Katonah, NY and refreshed some of my pieces there. These are the pieces that are now available for purchase there:
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I have been busy preparing for two upcoming Juried Art shows: Morristown Craftmarket in Morristown, NJ the weekend of October 19-21 and Art Providence Holiday Show in Providence, RI the weekend of December 7-9. I have made several new pieces. This blog will focus on my assemblage dolls that are made from teapots, china jars, vases or urns and use antique doll heads and sometimes arms and/or legs. Some of them are sitting, while others are standing or even walking their dog! They range in size from mini to huge.
Here are the new minis (6 inches tall and under):
Here are my three new stylish dog walkers:
Lille (Doll) et Belle (Dog)
Eleanora (Doll) & Luella (Dog)
Sadie (Doll) & CoCo (Dog)
My fashionable ladies walking their dogs together.
Here are my new medium-sized dolls:
(She has a locket with photos of her Husband and Daughter)
For a Slight Twist, Here is a Cat China Doll:
And for the finale, here is my new very large doll (17" high):
Peg and Her Pearls
All of these dolls are for sale, so if you are interested in one, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for more photos and prices. I am not listing them in my Etsy shop just yet as I want to save them for the two art shows. If you have an opportunity to come and see my art work face-to-face at one of these shows, I would be delighted to show them to you in great detail.
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When I found out that a local museum was hosting a two month long juried exhibition of regional artists' work, I decided to submit the maximum two pieces for possible inclusion. I submitted my one-of-a-kind giraffe ballerina, "LuLu." She is made with a porcelain Giraffe-head pitcher, antique tins, Victorian-era wood industrial bobbins, brass incense burner, brass clock pendulum, brass embossed embellishments, a drawer knob and ribbons :
I also submitted my one-of-a-kind Asian cat assemblage, "Empress in Training." She is made with a 1930s Redware cat head ashtray (cigarette would rest on the tongue and ashes collect inside the mouth), a matching Redware cat figurine, a large Asian tea tin, vintage wood industrial bobbins, furniture castors, large metal coat hook, brass incense burners, wood curtain ring and embossed brass embellishment. The concept is that the mother and current Empress is training her daughter to inherit the title.
The show was juried by Francine Weiss, the Senior Curator at the Newport Art Museum (Newport, RI). Prior to NAM, she served as Curator at the Photographic Resource Center in Boston and Editor for Loupe journal. Weiss received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Wellesley College and her Doctorate from Boston University.
I was away traveling in France (lucky me!) when the results were announced. I was so pleased to hear that "L:uLu" was chosen to be in the show! Unfortunately I had to miss the heavily attended Opening Celebration on June 22, but as soon as I returned, I visited the museum on July 7. When I saw the other art, I felt very honored to have my piece chosen to be in this show with so many talented artists!
Here are photos of "LuLu" in context of the show:
The following are some of my favorites at the show:
"Twin Trees, Winter Solstice Diptych" by Kim Cunningham, Hancock, MA
And here are some of the prize winners:
Here are incredible paintings from the solo exhibit "Multiverse" by last year's winner, Lynda Schlosberg:
For a local museum in a small city, the Fitchburg Art Museum is really quite impressive! Here are photos from some of their other exhibitions currently on display:
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For the fourth time in a row, my whimsical assemblage sculptures were published in the specialty magazine, Just Steampunk! This latest Vol. 10 just came out November 28, 2017 and can be purchased directly through Scott Publications 1-800-458-8237. It also can be found on the magazine shelves of some Michael's and A. C. Moore craft stores. My 8 items are featured on pages 49, 50 and 51. This magazine focuses on everything steampunk, from clothing, assemblage dolls and animals, jewelry and paper arts. It usually publishes once per year, but this year 2 volumes came out. My items were also featured in Vol 9 which was published in July 2017. Enjoy!
Here are links to my 3 other blogs about the other publications. These publications have far more pages of my work:
Published in Just Steampunk! Vol 7
Published in Just Steampunk! Vol 8
Published in Just Steampunk! Vol 9
Etsy shop: ShenVintageCreations
I feel so honored to have 12 of my assemblage sculptures featured for a third year in a row in the specialty magazine, Just Steampunk! This is Volume 9 and can be purchased directly through www.scottpublications.com. I'm particularly pleased that one of my dogs, "Red Rover," was put on the editorial page. Last year, one of my dogs, "Domino," made it onto the front cover! Volumes 7 & 8, which can also be purchased through that website, featured a total of 55 of my creations. Here are the links to my blogs on those publications:
Published in Just Steampunk! Vol. 8 Magazine
Published in Just Steampunk! Vol. 7 Magazine
Here are photos of the front cover and the editorial page of Volume 9:
Here are 4 of my china dolls featured on pages 46-47:
Here are 4 of my cats featured on pages 48-49:
Here are 5 of my dogs featured on pages 50-51:
Of these 12 sculptures published, only 2 are still for sale. The doll with an upside down blue margarita glass named "Ball Gown Bella" is for sale through the gallery, Lenox Print and Mercantile, in Lenox, MA. The boxer pair, "Mr. and Mrs. Boxley," are for sale through my etsy.com shop, ShenVintageCreations.
Just Steampunk! is a fun magazine with a lot of creative mixed-media 3D and assemblage art, jewelry, fashion, and home décor, all inspired by steampunk style. I first discovered this once-a-year publication at Michael's Craft Store, although I haven't been able to consistently find it there. As always, thanks for looking at my blog!
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Another story that reflects the importance of following up on marketing ideas. I was visiting Palo Alto, California 2 years ago (my old stomping grounds as I grew up on the Stanford University Campus since my father was a Professor). My friend and I met at an outdoor café at the wonderful Town and Country Village Shopping Center when I noticed this delightful Equestrian-themed store called ELLA (which stands for Equestrian Luxury Lifestyle Art). I immediately thought of my horse sculptures as a possibility for this boutique but I never followed up at the time because I got preoccupied with other things.
Fast forward to 3 weeks ago when I received an e-mail from the store inviting me (as a customer) to their pop-up shop at the Menlo Circus Club in Atherton, CA. It reminded me that I'd never reached out to them as an artist, so I put together an e-mail with 3 cowboy/cowgirl/pony photos and links to specific pages on my website and sent it off, hoping I would pique their interest in my sculptures for their store. Low and behold I did indeed capture their interest, and have just sent off 11 of my sculptures for their shop (and to arrive in time for their special pop-up shop in Atherton!). What's particularly interesting is that they only chose 2 of my horse pieces--they indicated that while they get a lot of horse lovers in their shop, they also get walk-ins from the general shopping center as well as family and friends of the horse lovers who are looking for something different--possibly my other whimsical animal sculptures! Here are photos of the pieces that will soon be available at ELLA, Town and Country Village, 855 El Camino Real, #109, Palo Alto, CA 94301, 650-656-9949. I'm going to particularly miss Professor Frogophile--he had a special place in my heart.
I am 58 years old, a wife of 26 years, a mother of a wonderful and independent 19-year-old daughter, a clinical psychologist who treats adults in private practice, and last, but definitely not least, an artist. Whew! That was a mouth full. My passion is creating one-of-a-kind whimsical sculptural animals, dolls, and cake toppers (with a little multi-media collage thrown in for good measure). I hope you enjoy my creations as much as I enjoy making them!